You can bookmark articles to
Moses knew that he couldn’t go to the Israelites under his own authority. He had learned this painful lesson 40 years earlier. This time, he had to be sent by divine authority. Moses, therefore, asked God for His actual name so he would have an answer if the Israelites tested him to see if he was really acting on God’s behalf (Exodus 3:13–14). The Hebrew words that the Lord provided for His name are Ehye Asher Ehye. What is commonly translated in English as I am who I am, or just I Am, actually means I shall be that I shall be. (Exodus 3:14)
Even though God promised redemption to His People in Egypt, for awhile those promises looked like empty words to the Israelites. We see that through Moses, God repeatedly demanded that Pharaoh let the Israelite slaves go free, and Pharaoh repeatedly refused. Even though it sometimes looked liked he might cooperate, he actually made their lives harder in response to God’s demands.
Parasha Bo (Come) begins with the eighth plague upon Egypt—Locusts. We may wonder why God decided to demonstrate His power to both Israel and Egypt. After all, He was fully capable of delivering Israel without involving Pharaoh in the process. Scripture is clear on this: God hardened Pharaoh’s heart in order to demonstrate His power over the false gods of Egypt, represented by each of the ten plagues.
No one really likes to feel like a slave forced into drudgery or servitude, like some kind of Cinderella, scrubbing the dirty floors of her wicked stepmother and stepsisters. Perhaps we all feel like this at times, and yet, Yeshua made the remarkable claim that whoever desires to be great should be a servant, and whoever desires to be first, should be a slave.
This week’s Parasha begins with the commandment to the children of Israel to bring the pure olive oil for the menorah in the Mishkan (Sanctuary), so the lamps in the Tent of Meeting could continually burn. Oil was also used in the priests’ ordination ceremony. Not only were the priests’ heads anointed with it, but they also presented to God a wave offering of unleavened bread prepared with oil.
God wants to ensure that His people will remain in communion with Him, so He commands Moshe (Moses) to build the Sanctuary as a visible reminder that God dwells among them. He also tells Moses to ask the children of Israel to give an offering (terumah) towards the construction of the Sanctuary. Only those stirred in their hearts with a desire to participate in this holy work are to donate their material goods. No one is to give grudgingly or out of a sense of duty but out of love and gratitude towards God.